Building a Successful Career in Translation and Interpretation: Tips and Insights
As kids, we are constantly being asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Most of us, blissfully oblivious (ah, the good ol' days), would fiercely shout out jobs like firefighter, veterinarian or Bruce's Willis' stunt double in space.
For the team here at DMME, some of us had our eyes on other career paths - even at that tender age when we were karate chopping trees and play cooking in our bedrooms - for us, it was about the world of linguistics.
Learning as many different languages as possible, discovering the underlying cultural and regional nuances to each language, and how beautiful the world is in its diversity, that was our goal.
So today, we want to share with you why translation and interpretation is important and what it takes to carve out a successful career in linguistics, and more specifically, the valuable services one can offer.
Translation and interpretation are vital skills in a globalised world.
Globalisation is not stopping anytime soon. The world is more connected than ever before, and businesses go beyond their own borders to expand and reach more people - and profit. Furthermore, the legal world is just as transcending and requires information to be shared with the utmost accuracy. The key to drive this expansion is successful, practical and clear communication. And the key for this lock would be you, a translator or interpreter.
So, whether you are looking to break into the translation industry or hoping to advance your existing career, there are several steps you can take to build a successful career in translation and interpretation.
Develop Your Language Skills
The foundation of any successful translation or interpretation career is a deep understanding of at least two languages. If you are a native speaker of a language other than English, you may already have an advantage in the industry. However, even if you are fluent in multiple languages, it is essential to continually work on your language skills to stay up to date with language trends and changes.
Taking language classes, using language apps such as Duolingo and immersing yourself in a foreign culture through food and film, you can consume media in your target language to keep your language skills sharp. Anyone up for a French movie marathon?
Specialise in a Specific Field
While general translation and interpretation services are always in demand, specialising in a specific field can set you apart from other professionals in the industry. Consider pursuing a specialisation in a field that interests you, such as legal, medical, or technical translation.
Not only will this give you a deeper understanding of the subject matter, but it will also help you to establish yourself as an expert in that field. This is also great news for anyone who have studied a completely different field, like science, history or anthropology, and can capitalise on their expertise to specialise in a field of translating and interpretation.
Like most professions, gaining experience is essential to building a successful career in translation and interpretation. Look for local courses at your tertiary institutions or simply begin with an online course.
Then start offering your services to friends and family members who may need translation or interpretation services. You can also volunteer your services to local community organisations or non-profits. These experiences can help you build a portfolio of work that you can use to demonstrate your skills and experience to potential clients or employers.
Network with Others in the Industry
Networking is a vital aspect of building a successful career in translation and interpretation. Attend industry conferences, join professional associations, and connect with other professionals in the industry on social media platforms.
Networking can lead to job opportunities, collaborations, and professional development opportunities that can help you grow your career.
Advances in technology have made translation and interpretation more accessible than ever before. Embracing technology can help you streamline your workflow, improve the accuracy of your work, and expand your client base.
Consider using translation software, such as translation memory tools or machine translation, to speed up your workflow. Additionally, video conferencing platforms like Zoom and TEAMS can make remote interpretation work more manageable.
Invest in Professional Development
The translation and interpretation industry are constantly evolving, so investing in professional development is essential to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices. Attend industry conferences and seminars, take online courses, and read industry publications to keep your skills sharp and stay informed.
Build a Strong Brand
Like any business, building a strong brand is essential to attracting clients and growing your career in translation and interpretation. Develop a professional website that showcases your services, skills, and experience. Additionally, create a strong social media presence to connect with potential clients and establish yourself as an industry expert.
Ready to kick off your career - or even your second career? (It's never too late!) As you can tell, we love all things language, culture and of course, offering our services to connect people from different language backgrounds with each other.
It's more than just a career in translating, it's specialising in a field with endless possibilities; from politics to screenwriting. Where there is language, there is opportunity.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to give us a call.